Cute at 6, may not be cute at 12

When I started on the journey of Motherhood, I never thought I would have to think about identity and culture clashes. I mean, what is the big deal, you create roots, you raise a child, it is all good, right?

Wrong, I totally forgot about school and playground politics. I just want to hide while dropping off my child, I really don’t love it. I can deal with hardcore politics, I just can’t deal with the insanity that is Moms. I sincerely don’t get it.

Over the past year, I have watched some Mother’s gush about their 7-year-old son’s having “girlfriends”. I ignored it. I didn’t really understand what was cute about it. Then the one Mother came up to me and gushed that her daughter is getting gifts from her little boyfriend, and then went on about which boy and girl are paired up together, it was a lengthy discussion I couldn’t get out of. It went on, the girls having backup boyfriends and having lists of boys they like. I smiled politely, and attempted to walk away. She then said “My daughter told me that your son is too silly to have a girlfriend.” I turned, smiled and said “good”, and walked away.

The conversation made me totally uncomfortable, in a way I couldn’t articulate at first.

I wanted to be snarky, to say something smart and rude, instead, I said nothing, but I came home and thought about those words. The words didn’t hurt me, I don’t care if my son is too silly. I think it is awesome that he is being who he is, and is expressing himself the way he wants, he is a kid, I want him to be a kid. What hurt, was having a Mother thinking it was a worry, and giving me a worried look, like oh, it will be o.k that he isn’t paired up. That look of feeling sorry for me, like somehow I have to work on my child’s silliness to get a girlfriend. The thing is, I don’t care about that stuff, we don’t use labels in our house, for one reason. I don’t want my son to think that he will always be accepted and loved no matter who he loves now, or later.

You see, kids don’t just pick up on having a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” naturally at the age of 6 and 7, it is something they learn from adults. That it is cute that their 7-year-old boy is hitting his little girlfriend because he likes her, or that the little 7-year-old girl is dressed up for her boyfriend. Fast forward what is cute at age 6, is it still cute at 12, or 18? Why are parents so surprised that the one thing they pushed at 6 which was cute, all of a sudden is a worry at 12 and 13, I mean, you created the product. The two mothers who think it is innocent and cute that their son and daughter are boyfriend and girlfriend, will then backtrack at 12, worried about sex. You see, by pushing it at 7, you can’t backtrack out of that. Kids are now exposed to so much, but do they need to be pushed to being grown up at such an early age? As parents, why push on the boyfriend – girlfriend stereotype, when sexuality is a spectrum.

You see, as a parent, I want to set my child up for success, give him the right tools and guidance to let him fly on his own!

Dip Kid

 

 

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5 Reasons You should start Traveling with Kids Early

I guess you could say, I was born to travel. I mean, it is sort of in my DNA. My Father grew up as an original Third Culture Kid. Born into an Air Force family, he moved from England, France, Morocco and Syracuse. When he joined Foreign Affairs, he and my Mother instantaneously began to move and travel. At one point, I tried counting the amount of planes I have been on, and I lost track at 350… that is a lot of flying!

I don’t actually recommend moving as much as I have, it has been difficult to say the least, but I love traveling with my son, and showing him what the world has to offer. We began traveling with him at the ripe age of 2 months. He went on his first plane trip at 4 months, and he hasn’t stopped. Now, he is more independent, being able to read, pack and heck navigate any airport himself at the age of 8. He is an absolute blast to travel with, and comes up with the best observations.

  1. Since we are Canadian, I feel we live in a ridiculously clean, safe little bubble. I don’t want my son to know just his safe bubble, I want him to see the struggles and poverty that exists outside of our regular lives. In Canada, poverty is easily masked, it isn’t in your face as it is in other countries. I grew up facing dire poverty outside of our diplomatic bubble, it is pretty hard to ignore in countries such as the Philippines and Venezuela. It made me more compassionate, and I want my son to grow up with the same compassion for the plight of others. He now stops to give food to the homeless in Toronto and Vancouver, he doesn’t ignore.

2. With Travel, comes a wisdom, and a feeling that so much is possible in life. The more we travel, the more we are sharing history, knowledge and             possibilities with our son. Instead of making our life smaller, we are expanding it.

3. Having lived the life that I did, I had a lot of fears, it comes with the territory, but one of the best things that travel gave me, was a sense of                       fearlessness when it came to experiencing something new. I wanted to pass that to my son. I watch so many people who are terrified of moving,             whether it be for school or a job, so they stay in the same spot, getting angrier and more depressed. Their fear of moving, even if it is for                           something better, paralyses them, so they don’t do it. From day 1, I wanted to make sure my son didn’t have fear of the unknown, the unknown               can bring the most fantastic adventures, friends, and experiences. Travel, has already created that. He is not afraid to hop on a plane, nor is he               afraid of us moving again, even though, I am pretty sure, we are already creating roots here.

4. Bring on a more open-minded kid. I grew up with 2 conservative looking parents, I mean, my mother wore pearls and sweater sets, and                            well, my  Father was rarely out of a suit and tie. Yet, they were the most open-minded people you could meet, at least, my Father was,                                sometimes I think my Mother has digressed, but that is a whole other blog post. My Father was pretty clear in one thing, skin colour, religion,                sexual identity and gender, were all off the table in assumptions, no question was dumb or off-limits, but answers, well those could be dumb,                  and quick judgments on anyone were quickly scolded. Our son, is exposed to different cultures, religions, and in the case of Thailand, gender as             well as sexual identity. I don’t shy away from any subject, no matter how awkward I feel about it.

5. Confidence. Being able to travel and get out of your comfort zone, takes a certain amount of confidence. By starting to travel early, you are                       essentially feeding your child a kind of confidence that only comes with travel. Seeing and doing new things in a different culture and language,             helps build a confidence that can’t ever be taken away from a child!

Happy traveling everyone.

Dip Kid